Should We Enhance or even Fake Photography?

I would like to talk about a controversial topic in photography and it is a topic of hot discussion among many photographers and artists.

How far would one go to make our photograph look amazing? I mean there is always a component of imagination involved in any art. How many painters can you blame for painting something not real? ZERO!

It is an art. Imagining what you want from the scenery and representing it in a way you want it to be, is a form of Art. Artists use all kinds of enhancement for their work. Using the right enhancement in an artistic way is an art as well.

The majority of my images except for a few are not enhanced or even photoshopped. There is a lot of technology around photography and AI is gaining popularism and can be used to enhanced images, change boring sky on otherwise amazing captured scenery to make it look more amazing, etc. Photoshop has been around for a while and has its amazing uses and I use it occasionally if I am taking a picture that is almost perfect but there is a small distracting object in it, like some person coming into the field of shot or a tree branch that is disturbing the “Feng Shui” of an image, then I will remove it in photoshop or Lightroom to bring harmony to that image.

Taking a RAW picture and balancing and adjusting it in Lightroom is not interfering with the actual image and rather bringing out what your eye saw as a photographer to bring out the correct exposure at that moment. No camera is perfect even if it can capture a large range of information on any image.

Kettle Moraine State Forest, WI. 3 exposure brackets used for this HDR image

Technology has advanced to capture almost eye-quality images using HDR (High Dynamic Range). A lot of smartphones have amazing software in them like AI can instantly capture HDR images which brings clearer images by correcting the light and dark areas of the display to be very simplistic. There is something we call HDR and also Focus Stacking: Focus Stacking merges several photos together taken at different focal points with different aperture values sometimes. HDR merges photos taken at several different exposures, which in camera called “Exposure Bracketing”, which means you set your camera on a tripod (of course) and set a range of up to ±3 stops (in 1/3-stop increments) and take your shot. I use mainly 5 brackets as seen in the image below, two over, and two underexposed, and one normal exposure. The 5 images can be all combined into an HDR image in Lightroom which will almost give you what your eye can see because as I said cameras are amazing but not perfect.

There are great programs like Luminar AI, Topaz Labs, and Nik Collection which can be used to edit, enhance and adjust images. There is also Adobe Lightroom, which I use. Some artists use AI to enhance their images like changing the sky on an image which can be done in Luminar AI. There are also some Apps one can use on a smartphone. I like the Ps Camera, by Adobe which is basically a mini Photoshop App with AI in your pocket. Below are some images captured using Ps Camera. Would I use that frequently, probably not, but I admire imagination, and that is what is art about. The sky is the limit. You can use those Apps for artistic expressions.

Original picture on the left and enhanced in Ps Camera App on the right

The below images are from the same location. The first image is the original one. Ps Camera App used to add starry sky and the cloudy sky. Isn’t that fun?

AI is everywhere for Image Enhancing, capturing daily life, and make smarter photos. It is used in smartphones as well.

Websites like 500px are between reality, imagination, and surrealism. I go there sometimes to get inspiration. People put amazing images there that speak to your heart and soul with their imagination and interpretation. That is what is art is about.

To me it is all pure art and expression of oneself no matter if enhanced or not.

What are your thoughts about this? I would be interested to know.

Happy Shooting!

Author: Kouros Farro

I am a family physician, educator, and photographer who loves landscape photography.

One thought on “Should We Enhance or even Fake Photography?”

  1. Kouros fantastic blog post. Social Media’s filters have either arguably enhanced individuals education of filters or enabled individuals to be lazy photographers. The auto filter of instagram is my go-to, because I classify as a somewhat lazy photographer; however, your blog inspires me to do more of my own editing for the future. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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